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Us 44, Nasa 33, United States 16, Alabama 14, America 14, Mccain 13, Vermont 12, U.s. 10, Mars 10, Mr. Mccain 9, Ryan 9, Arizona 9, Orion 7, Washington 7, Canada 7, Ms. Ayotte 6, Dr. Squyres 5, Hutchison 5, New Hampshire 5, Obama 5,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    September 13, 2012
    9:00 - 12:00pm EDT  

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dr. squyres tell us what types of planetary science missions does the unique capability of the space launch system, this new big rocket, that is evolvable in size, what does that provide? >> like dr. kennel i am excited about what we can do with an asteroid. i was recently part of a four member nasa crew. i was the one non-astronaut on the crew that conducted a two-week long mission of the aquarius mission in your home state of florida simulating the kinds of extra vehicular activity tools and equipment for what we use for exploration of an asteroid and it got me very excited about what a human scientist, explorer could do in an asteroid on a mission by sls.
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i think most importantly a heavy lift capability is essential. i'm a big fan of robotic exploration. i'm a member of the science team for the curiosity mission but with our magnificent curiosity rover can do in a day you can do in about 45 seconds, and you know what our magnificent opportunity rover has done on mars and eight and a half years you could do in a good week, week and a half, something like that. so what humans can do in the way of science on the surface of mars far surpasses what can never be done in my view by these wonderful rovers that i in so many of us here have devoted our careers to building and operating so i see sls, heavy lift and the ability to get humans beyond lower earth orbit is fundamental to some of the most important planetary science we have ahead of us. >> senator hutchison and i might say that senator hutchison was
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key as we have worked through the design of the nasa authorization bill to make the system evolvable so that it starts out what we have, the funds in the capability for now but it can grow to whatever the needs of the mission are. >> well thank you. that was certainly a joint effort and the purpose was to have the technology and the shuttle that is going to go to the space station that would be transferable to the launch vehicle with orion so that we maximize efficiency with our taxpayer dollars and that is what we have worked very hard to usher that nasa will do. when we talk about the importance of of the robots and how exciting curiosity is,
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nevertheless curiosity can come back with the samples. is that only going to be able to be done when we can put humans there that can return, or are we looking at another technology gates that would be an interim of trying to get the robot down and bring samples back? >> samples can be conducted robotically -- and indeed the mission that was recommended in the recent planetary decadal service would have been the first episode of missions that would have robotically returned samples from mars. now returning samples from mars is in no way a substitute for the magnificent science that can be done by actually sending humans there but what it does is it lays the scientific round work. it enables us to design a program of future human exploration of mars that is driven and motivated and is
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informed by the scientific results that come from those returned samples and gives the taxpayer the maximum return on the substantial investment involved in sending humans to mars that we can bring samples back robotically. it's also possible to -- possible to have humans play some role in that. you can envision scenarios in which samples are launched into orbit around mars and then are retrieved by a human mission that goes into martian orbit and comes back to earth and there are many ways to play this game but it is quite possible to do a return sample from mars robotically. >> and is that a worthy goal that we should be looking at for one of -- i think all of you and we have talked about the stages. i think your message is a clear mission in stages so that you accomplish a mission and that leads to the next mission and we know what that is, so would we
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be looking at something that would go to mars while maybe the curiosity might still be working but yet another one might have to return capability that would be the next goal to achieve again looking towards the human going to mars as a goal down the road? >> to mars return campaign that was recommended in the planetary decadal survey would have kicked off with a launch in 2018 and it still possible to do that. different opportunities to launch a spacecraft to mars were different. some are energetically more favorable than others. turns out 2018 is one of the best opportunities for the next few decades to actually lead to substantial payload on the surface of mars and so it would be possible given adequate funding, to do a mission in 2018
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when curiosity we hope will still be going to put a robot on service that would select a carefully chosen cash, this weed is scientifically chosen samples which would then be brought back to earth by subsequent robotic missions for the downstream and that indeed was the primary recommendation of the most recent decadal survey. >> looking at it from the congressional standpoint where we also have to look at our financial situation and put money that is available toward this priority, is that the best priority use of our exploration funds to do that or would it be better to not put the money on that returnable vehicle but keep going towards the human vehicle
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as the next goal? >> i would sincerely hope that it's not an either/or proposition. certainly as you compare mars sample return to other missions that could be conducted in the field of planetary science, nasa space science director, the single highest priority as they said that was identified a broad two-year consensus building effort in the planetary science community was to begin this campaign to return samples from mars. now that was not an attempt to compare the value of mars sample return to the value of future human exploration fls, or ryan or anything else. that was not the study that was conducted. my sincere hope is that as has been the case so much over nasa's history providing space exploration in human exploration can go forward in tandem with one informing the other and motivating the other and providing a basis that drives us
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to send humans to these places. so i sincerely hope that we can go forward with this sample return mission without it adversely affecting what i think is the critical development of sls, orion and the other vehicles in deep-space including mars. >> do we know from what we have up there, whether it's something orbiting mars or the rover, that the atmosphere will not be dangerous for a human and obviously in a spacesuit, but do we know for sure from what we have evidence of, that it will be safe for a human -- a person to actually land there and stay for a while. >> we are in the process of obtaining that information right now. curiosity has a number of insurance that will bear
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directly on that question. there is an instrument that is a radiation detector that is specifically there to characterize the radiation environment and the martian service as it would affect future human explorers. there is a capability to measure the composition of the mars atmosphere to it exquisite precision. we have an instrument that will tell us what minerals are present in the martian soil and you can infer from that what would be the effective breathing that stuff and in that kind of thing so this is a great example of how this robotic missions in forms informed the process of sending humans justice back in the early days prior to apollo there were missions that were sent to to orbit the moon and to land on the moon and surveyor missions to characterize the compaction state of the soil and what happens when we touch down on it and will the lunar module sink down on site as we answered those questions with aerobatic precursors and we are doing the same exact thing with mars right
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now. >> i want to ask you, you said that we should prioritize the dollars that we have poured the best achievable goals in space exploration and i think, i believe all of you have stated your for robotics and your for human and you don't think they are mutually exclusive. here is my question. is nasa's mission to broad to be able to fully fund the priorities, and should we in the next nasa authorization look at splitting nasa so that we are now a national aeronautics and space administration? should we, as an example, look at space exploration and put
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aaron air or not x. somewhere else? that is just one example, or are there other examples? should we look at splitting nasa, or is the aeronautics and space function so closely intertwined that they are stronger and more appropriate together, even though we are spreading dollars now pretty thinly along with the science mission that is so important like the webb and the hubble. your suggestion as scientists on that issue. >> there are other ways to slice up the pie but with regard to aeronautics, it is performing several functions to the government and the faa in particular that nobody else is and actually, the amount of
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money that you would get for it, that you could devote to exploration would be so small that i don't think it's worth the turmoil and disruption that were to occur in a program that is already pretty small. as far as the rest of nasa is concerned, i believe that the way the science program is funded at about the 5 billion-dollar level, gives us a shot at leadership that each and them feels we are pursuing and i think that is the criteria and we have several that are, well, gives us a shot at leadership in each one that we are pursuing. there is one area i think that is underfunded which would be the utilization of the space station and that actually is going to be critical in two
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ways. first of all it will prove to people that we are still doing things in space and secondly there are no critical basic science things that need to be learned to do the space technology of exploration. just simply learning about fluids and various other things like that, behave in space where there is no gravity will inform the design of systems that will go beyond low earth orbit. that is just one example. so i think, i think that the science program would suffer tremendously if it were cut off from the human and made separate from the human spaceflight enterprise. >> any differing views? >> these are my views based on my experience. >> and are you basically saying and i would like any other view, that we are better off with nasa as a unit as it is and there is
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not any part of nasa that you would jettison in order to get more of the money for the focus issues that we all agree are so very important? >> i think you could look at each of the programs and asked what should we not do in order to do something new in the future, but at this level of just the basic elements, i don't see any value in separating them at the present time. >> that was going to be my comments, is as dr. squyres said with a limited budget we have we are asking nasa to be all things to all peoples of the first step in my mind would be what are the tube -- drew priorities and at some -- in business we do this all the time. i get requests for my research and development efforts generally every year the request comes in at twice my budget so we go through and decide you know these are the priorities
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for us and these you know, we call it the water line and anything below that doesn't get funded. is something above it goes away or doesn't work out then they can buy its way back in but we make those are choices for so the first of would be, have we really made those hard choices to set a water line and was then falls below it from for my priority standpoint? then the question, your question was should we split it off somewhere else and have them not do it? we still think it's important that someone else is doing it but we are still not saving any money so if the objective is to work with a limited budget i am not sure splitting it off and asking someone else to do it will save that. dr. squyres suggested we have choices and i agree in one of them i think we have to pick some priorities. one of the other choices was maybe some of this effort could be shared with international collaboration and so it reduces the total burden on one agency and one nation and we would have to decide which areas are
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relevant for that. than the third -- you had four choices but those were the two that jumped out at me but a third one we haven't talked much about but we as an industry have worked hard on is giving more results for less dollars so we have focused as an organization on how do we become as efficient as possible and for every dollar, taxpayer dollar, we spend your customers and not just nasa, we work for the air force also -- how can we provide that limited number of dollars? are we organize properly? do we have the right footprint or square footage for what we need and who we need need to be in the future going forward. i think that's a legitimate question to ask. >> before we go to dr. squyres, the reason i opened the question of should we take some part of nasa that is considered maybe not synergistic with the
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purposes that we believe science, aeronautics and space, could it go to another place where it could be done more efficiently because it matches better so the department of energy may be for some of the energy science that we are using the space station for, or something in the department of defense or aeronautics. i don't know but that is one way of at least looking at it. but if you are getting down to the priorities then, make suggestions on what you would put in a lower category from a scientific standpoint without the political overview. are there programs within nasa that would get enough money over to space exploration or science to make it worth looking at
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lowering the priority? and as you dr. squyres mentioned you have to prioritize and is there a scientific view of what should be a lower priority where you can add to this space exploration site? >> i would like to actually make two remarks in response to your question. first of all let me say a quick word about aeronautics. in my time as chairman of a nasa advisory council like personally have come to the opinion that the aeronautics program is really one of nasa's shining jewels. it's a small agency and a small part of the agency financially but if you look at nasa's budget and you ask yourself what are the things that the agency does that most directly benefit the taxpayers in their daily lives, it's hard to find anything better than nasa than their aranov x. program and i feel
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disrupting that program, trying to rip it out of the place where it has found such a good home and place it somewhere else could be detrimental to what i think is one of the best things that nasa does. with respect to science prior to station, the surveys that are run by the national research council are pure exercises in scientific prioritization and when we conduct a decadal survey we look at oh gosh, dozens of mission concepts and we went know them and weep prioritize and prioritize and we draw on inputs from the scientific community that go on literally for a couple of years and then when we bring them forward -- what we bring forward are the few highest priority missions that really whittled down that process of the missions that you see in the decadals are the highest priority, the ones that result from a very very intensive and very rigorous prioritization process. >> if i can add to that, one of
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the new things that we did in this round of decadal surveys was to try to impart some budget and engineering realism to our recommendations, and so in addition to the scientists we incl engineers and we got independent cost estimates so that we looked at the practical realities as well as the ideal scientific goals and our recommendations were a result of those two types of considerations. in the event -- what happened was we recommended many fewer emissions than we had in the past, and in fact in our astrophysics survey for the entire decade there were a number of smaller missions and the explorer program but only one lead candidate and so there was when knowing that's it place that we thought was -- the budget is going to win no us even further back when you look at those leadership recommendations and look through them, then it is still important
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i believe to try to stick to the goals that they laid forth because those were both scientific leadership purposes and realism. >> let me ask you this. you mentioned that are utilizing the space station as one of the things that we ought to do because there is a term limit on that of 2020, and one of the things that we put in our authorization bill was to make the u.s. part of the space station national laboratory so that outside interests, other agencies, corporations, universities, could actually buy experiments there and use them. my question is, what other ways would you have to further
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utilize and better utilize the space station that we certainly invested heavily in producing and it has now been extended, which is great, but extend it even though we can't get to it on our own with our own juice yet that we will in the next two years, and what would you suggest that we ought to be doing to better utilize its? >> first of all let me just state that when our commission basically recommended we extend the lifetime of the station to 2020, we also a definite extension and the -- they will decide to continue and it's that indefinite time horizon that is the important one that would enable people from the non-nasa community and from the outside world to have enough sense and
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knowledge that the resource will be there that they can then begin to plan long-term utilization programs and so i think being open about the date that we close the station is terribly important. secondly, if you really look at the europeans are doing much better job of utilize the station that the build than we are at the scientific level and the reason is they didn't -- weren't burdened with the financial difficulties of building a so they plan for the long-term and they have developed stable scientific communities that look at the issues, that all of the things you can do in low gravity that you cannot do on the earth whether it is fluid behavior, biological behavior in particular and have basic science research as well as engineering going forward. financial and program changes eviscerated our community in that field and that happened
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about 2,542,006 and a report recommends that we have rebuilt that community and we are very pleased that nasa has made a good-faith effort to do so. they have created an office and with their limited resources, they are trying to rebuild a community that has lost faith to be quite frank, that the station will be there for them. that is why the ngo is needed to make it easy for them to participate. the long horizon is important for them so they can be secure so they can commit their -- on station and quite frankly the funding that office has is far less than the funding we used to have and so i think the requirement for the u.s. is for u.s. scientist to begin to use it and i think by 2020 if you begin to see u.s. scientific results coming out at the same international level that we are used to in all of the other fields of science, then i think people will no longer say that
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the space program is dead because we don't have the shuttle. they will say oh america is doing lots at its base station but right now europeans are getting more science out of the space station that we build them we are. >> i have a specific suggestion regarding the space station utilization. if you are saying a university researcher who is interested in doing research, there are substantial barriers to trying to get an experiment onboard the space station. there is a level of review and oversight. what some researchers might view as excessive attention to minute details of experiment that are taunting to many university investigators. it's just too hard to get through that process and get your hardware onboard the space station so anecdotally there are
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researchers who just choose not to try it because they don't want to jump over those hurdles. now the reasons for the existence of those hurdles are absolutely sound and crew safety can and must never, never be compromised but now that we have years of experience in operang the space station, think it might make some sense to look carefully at whether or not there is the gap that could be widened between what is really necessary to safely fly something on the station and with the current set of rules requirements, reviews and oversight demand and if that gap could be widened a little bit, reducing the barrier to getting universities, getting other organizations to fly experiments on the space station, just making it easier to do business in that precious national laboratory i think there could be advantages to the nation.
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>> thank you. that is very helpful. >> if i could add, this is the one we thought the independent ngo organization could overcome. what you really need is a professional organization who can take the requirements and hopes of the space naïve community and translate them into terms that the operational community can tolerate and work through all of the issues and not make more scientists out there who never before worked in space try to deal with it so you need a professional -- professional opportunity translation organization and that is why we thought -- though there is an example in the space telescope science institute that has guided my thinking but something like that is needed to actually translate opportunity into reality on station operations.
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but at the. but at the end of the day, the provision of access to zero low gravity will be an attraction to many scientists, if they can actually get added. >> okay, let me ask you, have a couple of other questions. one is, you said we should have more not just participation but really do use with our international partners, and in both obviously the space station but in space exploration. do you have any specifics on what more we should be asking and realistically expect from our international partners? >> sure. let me give you two examples. in the area of robotic space exploration and particularly sample return from mars, there
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are several necessary elements to the sample return campaign. one is a rover that can land on the surface and collect caches of samples. that is something we know we do pretty well at nasa so maybe we don't need any help with that one but you also need a vehicle that can get the samples off the surface and then you need a vehicle that can find that little spacecraft that you launch of the servers that can rendezvous with it and bring the samples back to earth. on orbit rendezvous, planetary orbiters, these are things that many potential international partners know how to do and know how to do well so i think the significant potential and indeed that was the intention of the planetary decadal survey recommended sample return campaign was that it be conducted in partnership with other agencies particularly the european space station. >> why aren't we doing that?
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>> the reason we are not doing that at the present time, the cuts that were projected to the fy13 planetary budget made it impossible project in the budget forward to carry out that hoped-for mission in partnership so nasa walked away from the partnership at least temporarily. my hope is that can be corrected in the future. with respect to human exploration i made a point in my opening remarks that we have two magnificent pieces of what you need for truly enabling the space exploration, the orion and sls but orion and sls alone will not get you to an asteroid. there are other vehicles, the space habitation module that can support a crew in a time that it takes to actually get to an asteroid propulsion capability and that sort of thing. i think those are all potentially components of a true deep-space exploration system to
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which international partners could potentially be invited to contribute and so you know in my opening remarks i stress there is a big piece of the puzzle missing. we want to build an asteroid to go back to the moon and certainly to go to mars but right now we have got the ability to launch a lot of mass off the surface of the earth and work with us a lesson we have the ability to support a crew for 21 days with orion and those are met matheson and necessary capabilities. they are necessary but they are not sufficient so i think looking to capable, committed international partners as we have done so spectacularly well with the international space station, i mean what a giant that has been, is something we should look at. >> i would just like to add to that, the international space station partnership is a miracle for international relationships. it has survived budget ups and downs, accidents and various defaults on the part of other
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partners and yet it continues to this day, 14 nations working together on the station. if you think for example that some day that the world will go to mars lead by the united states then you are going to need something like this space station partnership and the confidence building that has already taken place to also participate in that mission and so there is a policy issue that you may wish to consider and that is that as people renegotiate the international space station partnership, you could add to it some goals that are related to the development of the technology from beyond lao exploration to the space station partnership so that they began to develop an awareness of the really great challenges and technical challenges that will face all of us as we tried to get to mars and we begin to
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enlist them in the effort. and that could -- i don't know whether that would serve as a precursor for the partnership we have built but it certainly would build -- be a confidence builder and i think it would help start the process off in a way that is useful to the united states. >> one other comment i would add to that is, we are all aware that the space station was nearly canceled within one vote, and a lot of people have said one of the main reasons it went through is because of our international commitment, and i would argue you know, the part of my argument has been about an enduring, stable vision of incrementally increasing challenges and if we committed to that and committed to a collaboration internationally for that over the long run, perhaps that is a model in which national commitments to each other create some stability and can get us out of the this cycle
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of starting and canceling things because it goes beyond any one administration or anyone congressional period because because the commitments are multi-decade. >> i think what you all are doing is actually putting forth the long-term, clear goal that you discussed as a first policy directive, because it would take certainly, to get our international partners to re-up into this bigger coordination effort, the assurance that we wouldn't have fits and starts and one of the things in my time here that i have worked with administrations that are democrat and administrations
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that are republican and have tried to say, you can't just say we are going to stop doing something that we have international partners already investing in to a great degree from their own budgets, their percentage of the budget they are putting in is as big as the percentage of our budget and we have got to be a reliable partner in order to keep an alliance like that going and if we are talking about the kind of commitment that you suggest, which is putting different vehicles, capabilities together so that it doesn't all fall on us, nevertheless we are going to have to be reliable and show that we are not going to get cold feet midway through this and all of a sudden stop our
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part. i think that is a worthy goal for the clear stated visionary goal for the future, and i think you sort of put together a nugget that really could be the basis for the next authorization bill. the last question, and then i will turn it back over to the chairman, and that is we have seen really an emergence of commercial capability, a lot of our u.s. tax dollars have gone into helping the commercial operators begin to get the capabilities to at first do this taxi to and from the space station. are you at all concerned about the money that goes into the commercial operation taking from
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the future heavy launch with the discussion that we just had, or do you think that we can do both efficiently, having the taxi to the space station and perhaps allowing it to be extended as doctors kennel suggested because you have the taxi capabilities going forward beyond 2020 and maybe it could, maybe not pay for itself exactly but certainly offset much of the expense of holding onto the space station while we at the same time focus our efforts and nasa on the next generation, move beyond low earth orbit exploration? >> i think if we are smart about it we can do both and that will give you a good example. we were just talking about the importance potentially of international partners ringing pieces to -- of the puzzle to create a more robust deep-space
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capability that the resources to do that within esa have to come from somewhere. if you look at esa for example some of our international partners commitments to future space station activity some of them have to do with discipline and some of them have to do with providing getting stuff up to the space station. if as a result of investment in commercial capabilities, resend dragon mission to the station being an example and more to come i hope, if we develop a robust capability here in this country to do that resupply, to get that mass to the space station, it could offload some of these foreign partners from some of the resupply they are currently committed to providing and they could take those resources and they could put into something else that would
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take us out deeper into space so i think if we are smart about how we play this game there are efficiencies that could come from commercial taxis to the international space station that could provide benefits, that could then be felt in the deep-space part of what nasa does. >> thank you doctors kennel. >> thank you. there is no long-term future unless you provide value in the short-term and so the trips to the station are providing value in the short-term. the commercial enterprise if it is successful will rot and the social base of the technology base for the larger enterprise to come so i think that is a useful thing. there's another dimension of this problem that you may not become aware of but recently with the cancellation of the rocket system, the space science community has become concerned about the lack of availability
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of the midscale rocket systems for scientific spacecraft, so there's a kind of unfocused hope that if the commercials are successful, then we will also be able to tailor some of our experiments to those capabilities. i haven't quite seen the study yet and i think it's delicate at the commercial level to do it but i do believe that there is a possibility that the successful commercial industry will also help space science. >> i guess my comment is first and foremost i think we all agreed we need access to the station from the united states and so given that, both cargo and crew -- and given that we want to do it as affordably as possible. low earth orbit is where hundreds have gone before and i think the point behind that is we have been doing that long enough we should be able to do it very cost effectively and potentially buy those services in a different manner than we
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have traditionally procured them as a nasa owned and operated vehicle so i'm on board with that completely. certainly cargo as a separate launch vehicle and a separate system we can take more risk. we can can afford a little bit of failure in there and i think that's good. the real question in my mind is, if you shift to commercial we are not going to be as risks -- risk tolerant. you have the lives of people on board and you have the space station that you absolutely have to be careful with from that standpoint also. so when i stand back and look at it, my question and comment would be are we absolutely certain that the approach we are taking is the quickest, most cost effective and safest way to take things to station especially people and how many systems do we really need under that context with the amount of market there is out there because when i look particularly at commercial crew, when i stand back and look at it, if the
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station were to end in 2020 the commercial crew people would end up, if there are two providers, would end up launching each want once a year for maybe three years or four years or something so maybe a station will be extended but the real question is the most effective use of dollars how many commercial crew providers do we need in the long run is my question. >> we have certainly tried to lower the number of commercial operators that are going to get the federal seed money, just because we agreed that was more than we could take away from sls and orion but now there are two and a half -- >> that was a positive movement and i think that's good because to get to the next point as it evolves to the next decision point, i think clearly we need to look at how many real missions are there out there and
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how many suppliers are appropriate? >> well the goal is to have one, so that is the goal and we are looking at the efficiency of making sure we are not paying just as much as we would had we kept it and all of nasa and the down select which we pretty much forced is a step in the right direction but hopefully there is one more down select and based on the merits, whoever wins, will be the one. thank you very much. this has been very very helpful and i think that it really will inform us as we go forward into the next authorization period and fortunately even though i am leaving, there will be others who will be staying and the staff will hopefully stay and we will use this very help all information to look at the
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importance of the goal that can be achieved with international cooperation. i like what you said. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you senator hutchison and thank you again for your leadership over the years. on this topic that you are very very passionate about. i just want to say mr. maser that the value of competition is that instead of your rocket company being the only one in town, you get sharper, your prices get sharper. if there is a competitor there, and that's the whole idea of this competition for the way to get to and from the international space station, so over time that they bringing up the cost per pound to get to orbit comes dramatically down. i want to ask you all on our
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topic of exploration beyond earth orbit. doesn't it appear right now that with conventional technology, that we couldn't do, assuming we can build a lander and all of that and that we know what we are landing on and we have returned a sample so we can know what to expect, but right now it's going to take us eight to 10 months to get their. once you are there, then the planets are out of alignment and you have got to wait a long long time before you can bring the crew back to get the planets closer in alignment. so, aren't we really talking about going to mars in the 2030s for the first crude mission, that we have got to develop a whole new propulsion system that is going to get us there a lot quicker? what do you think about that?
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>> personally i think that it's possible to do a human mission to mars, using advanced but chemical propulsion systems. i don't think we need a dramatically new technology. there are technologies that will be an official. one can imagine some capture sorts of deceleration technologies that could be used at mars. certainly for some of the transfer stages that we might want to use to get cruise to mars having the ability to do in space storage of cryogenics, propellants would be a good thing but i think if you were to conducted poll of the astronaut office right now who would be willing to sign up for a mission of that duration to mars you would get a lot of takers so i personally believe that the biomedical issues that are
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associated with long-term exposure to microgravity and the effects on the crew on the way to mars and back are being addressed now pretty impressively on the international space station and i think that is one one way iss is really contributing to future human exploration so i don't think you need a totally different approach to in-space propulsion in order to safely get humans onto the surface of mars and have them be effective while they are there and get them back, but there are technological developments and i think in space cryogenic repellents is very high on that list that would be enabling in that regard. >> dr. kennel? >> i'm not going to challenge these judgment because i actually agree with it as things look at the present however what i would like to say is that the commitment to the goal probably is going to stimulate all sorts of technological innovations. people are going to try things to try to shorten the flight
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time. they are going to try various biomedical remedies and so forth because they know that goal will still be there and is seen as you make it clear that we are going to eventually go beyond low earth orbit, i think you will find people willing, just like the entrepreneurial space launch industry, you'll probably find people willing to take a risk on new technologies and experience tells us that every now and then there is a breakthrough and that may accelerate. the goal will be for those technologies to accelerate in time that we shoved off from low earth orbit and actually make the first mission. so i think setting the role is terribly important for potential innovations. >> i want to wrap up the hearing with just a couple of questions about funding and the certainty of the funding. now, we are living in uncertain
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times, with the budgetary situation as it is. if you look at nasa as a federal agency, compared to other federal agencies, it has fared quite well. and, yet, what is the future? sequestration, this meat cleaver that is hanging over the federal budget at the end of the year was never intended to take effect because it was the meat cleaver to force the house and senate joint supercommittee to come to agreement and we know what happened a year ago. that didn't happen and so we are facing those consequences but i think we will work ourselves through that and avoid the sequestration.
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but, still the uncertainty of the funding of the future and mr. maser, we are getting ready probably tomorrow to enact another appropriations bill called a continuing resolution, taking the existing funding from this past fiscal year and applying it probably for the next six months. that creates uncertainty for nasa programs and contractors. how in the past have the continuing resolutions affected nasa programs? >> well, this year might be a good thing. i don't know relative to what we have been looking at potentially but generally what we look for is a view to what funding has gone in algiers and we resource
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around those and then as the budget is approved and you go to a continuing resolution, at two babies goodies and scope and funding for things you had planned on, staff or an organized for don't materialize and you are forced to move people around and shift priorities and in some cases you can adjust your costs fast enough and you just have to pass on the cost increase to the customer in the short-run. in the past few years, there has been probably, i think it's either been more discontinuance than the transition from the end of the apollo program to the shuttle program because there is actually quite a few years of overlap and development activity so even though apollo was ending, shuttle had started years before its first launch and a continued to keep going and so that actually provided, even though it's much reduced in terms of what it was during the apollo era you pretty much knew where it was and it was
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continuous. in the past three of four years here we have seen the end of the shuttle, cancellation of cost elation, no decision about what we are going to do next and finally a year ago decision was made -- >> two years ago. >> was it two years ago? the sls was a year ago. the actual decision on the sls i believe -- >> no sir, the authorization in 2010 set a course for the blueprint for the sls. it set the parameters. you are talking about the funding of it. the funding and derek and i think senator hutchison, because she is on the appropriations committee as well, the funding started to implement the authorization bill for the development of the sls and orion and of course an and appropriations process uis have
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the -- and then with the overall attempts at slashing federal spending on everything, that has complicated it. go ahead and make your point. >> thank you. the only other comment i would make is, every year in 2010, 2011 and 2012, we have made reductions down to the size we felt would be appropriate for our business going forward starting in 2010. as we get toward the end of the year and we look towards what's going forward in the future in terms of budgets and how money is being allocated and funding etc. we had to make additional reductions and this is my third year for directions. every year i say once i get down to that level i will have a stable employment level about which i can manage fluctuations with overtime and basically
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temporary workers and so that is the intent we are doing this year. we are continuing to reduce staff. we are down about 30% in staff over the past three years and the continuing resolution, sequestration and the lack of stability creates a tremendous amount of nervousness within the organization within our people about what the future holds for them and it creates a big challenge for attraction retention and motivation going forward. so, we can organize and size for any future but we would like to see a view as to what that future looks like and some stability for the long run. competition is fine. we are happy to compete and if we lose we make adjustments. we love to go and compete but those items we put out there in the future but to have them not funded and never even be able to compete for them or compete and win and be canceled as a real challenge for our
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organization's. >> dr. kennel i would suggest in your position with an rc's space studies board you might want to have them look at this topic. the impacts to the space program and the different funding scenarios, including sequestration even though the this senator doesn't think sequestration will go into effect or if it did go into effect, because of lack of agreement by december 31, it will quickly be overturned in the new congress so i would suggest that you all take up that topic fairly soon. >> we have given this some thought and it's quite clear that given the dissented -- decision make her supporters that risk in the different levels of protection i think will be very useful. it will be difficult i think for us to do it over the next three months but i think over the longer-term we can look at levels of cuts or changes in
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budget and how we might respond and we would do so with reference to the goals thus far that we have set forth in our decadals surveys unless we are directed to look at it differently. but i think we could, knowing our goals, we could say what we would do under different scenarios. >> dr. kennel it would also be helpful if you could report from the nrc to us on the committee on an evaluation of the administration's plan under the nasa authorization bill for the exploration program with regard to mars. that would be very helpful. >> yes, i would be delighted to consider that. we would have to work it out very carefully of course but we very much want to see what the admin -- with the new nasa committee is saying.
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we very much want to evaluate at. >> senator hutchison anything further? this has been most illuminating. thank you all. the meeting is adjourned. [inaudible conversations] >> ivanka people really like to see where a politician views have shifted over the years. i think people like to see whether mitt romney 1994 was
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campaigning for welfare against welfare reform for abortion. they want to see where he was during it during his 2002 campaign and 2007. i think people really like to see how these politicians have evolved and there is sort of an element that is almost a gotcha element but there's also an element where people are like this is incredibly interesting. >> i am trying to think why it is bad he has changed so often. why he finds it so difficult to come down on one side of an issue in a dead sort of between both issues. >> yes someone who is running for state office, there is a governor named rod okoye pitch in your name is barack obama. >> he is a trailblazer in the hero of mine. >> i think the best way to describe it is a viral beating heart of the internet.
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>> did you see the jobs report this morning by the way? 95,000 night believe net new jobs created and almost 400,000 people dropped out of the workforce altogether. is just simply unimaginable. >> today we learned after losing around 800,000 jobs a month when i took office, but business once again added jobs for the 30th month in a row, total of more than 4.6 million jobs.
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>> be go live now to the floor of the u.s. senate where members are about to gavel in for the day. last night the chamber voted 84-8 to proceed to a veterans jobs bill. that measure would provide work training for veterans who are looking for civilian jobs and give them priority in hiring for federal jobs. the senate expected to work on the legislation for the rest of the week. live coverage of the u.s. senate now here on c-span2. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. today's opening prayer will be
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offered by chaplain marcel rainville of st. michael's college in burlington, vermont. the guest chaplain: with humble hearts let us pray: gracious god, you make us stewards of your creation, so that in all things we may honor the gift of life which you. bestow on us each day. we pray for these our elected officials as they work to perform the sacred mission of service, taken up on behalf of all the citizens of this nation that thirsts for god. guide them with good judgment in the exercise of their duties.
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may your spirit of wisdom abide with them in shaping a more benevolent world, according to your great love. and may the hearts of your people-especially these present-be open to the needs of all our brothers and sisters. we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., september 13, 2012.
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to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable tom udall, a senator from the state of new mexico, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader is recognized. mr. reid: i move to proceed to calendar number 499, s. 3521. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 499, s. 3521, a bill to amend the internal revenue code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions. mr. reid: mr. president, i yield to my friend from connecticut. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont is recognized. mr. reid: vermont, vermont, vermont, vermont. i know the difference. mr. sanders: i thank the majority leader for yielding. mr. president, i am delighted that father marcel rainville has offered the opening prayer for the u.s. senate this morning, and i thank him very much for
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joining us in doing so. father rainville is a native of vermont. he is a distinguished member of the society of saint edmond, an order which has a very long history in our state. established in vermont in akiles bay in 1891 and swanton in 1895, it still has headquarters in vermont. the society founded st. michael's college which was officially incorporated in 1913 as the first catholic college in the state of vermont with the authority to grant college degrees. the edmondites have long stood up for justice and for civil rights in our country, including in selma, alabama, where they have a mission. the society has established a successful alternative school for african-american boys in new orleans. the edmondites have as a major part of their vocation, a
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mission to help those who are most in need, and we appreciate all of the good work they do. father rainville was born in swanton, vermont. he was ordained as a priest in the society of saint edmond and this year marks the 40th anniversary of his ordination. father marcel spent part of his life as a priest serving in venezuela working with and sustaining those in a barrio. he presides in vermont where he long counseled students in st. michael's college and served as chaplain. he serves as tkrerbg -- director as the society of st. edmond. he gives me great pride he has given the opening prayer in the senate. he is a kind and gentle human being and is much beloved in our state. and i thank him again for being with us today. and i thank the chaplain for his
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help in arranging for this. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: last night cloture cle was filed on the substitute amendment on the underlying bill, the veterans job bill. if we're unable to reach agreement to move the time of the cloture vote up, we'll have to have these votes as early as we can under rule 22. here's what that would be. the first roll call vote on cloture on the substitute amendment would occur shortly after 1:00 a.m. friday morning -- that is tonight. there are 60 cuts to vote off the filibuster on the substitute amendment, there would be up to 30 hours postcloture on the substitute amendment prior to adoption which would occur on 7:30 a.m. saturday morning. following adoption of the substitute amendment the senate would proceed to the cloture vote on the underlying bill as amended. if cloture is invoked on the bill as amended there would be up to 30 hours postcloture prior
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to the vote on passage of the bill as amended. this vote would occur about 2:30 p.m. sunday afternoon. that's for the information of all senators. until we get this worked out, everybody better stay right where they are and not be going places because we would have votes every day. we would be able to finish this work on sunday some time late in the afternoon and then we would, of course with the jewish holidays monday and tuesday we would come back beginning on wednesday. mr. president, we're going to have the first period of time here -- let me just look this over. the next hour, when i finish my remarks and when senator mcconnell comes and finishes
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his, there will be an hour that will be divided at that time. mr. president, as we know, it's thursday, which means republicans have once again forced the senate to waste the better part of a week jumping through procedural hoops that do not one positive thing for our country. this week the senate waited, waited and waid yet another filibuster to deal with. the 380th filibuster in the six years that i've been the leader here in the senate. this time republicans aren't just obstructing a measure which would create jobs, which they've done many times. they're obstructing a measure which would create jobs for the men and women who have risked their lives over the past 11 years to protect our freedom. each year 200,000 service members reenter the civilian workforce, the veterans job corps act which is before this body would invest in those
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returning veterans, easing the transition back to civilian life with job training programs and priority hiring for first responder positions. if young veterans want to continue their service to country and community by becoming police officers, firefighters or rescue workers, we should do everything we can to help them achieve that goal. the legislation would also create jobs for veterans, restoring forests, parks, koefpts and public -- coasts and public lands. the least we can do for those who fought for this country abroad is make sure they never have to fight for a job when they come home. this legislation before this body should sail through the senate with bipartisan support. remember, mr. president, the substitute amendment is a bipartisan measure worked on by senator burr and others on the republican side. but this worthy legislation has met one republican stall tactic
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after another. not only has this bill faced a strong series of procedural hurdles, republicans have larded it up with unrelated ideological amendments. that's what they want to do anyway. and while some of these amendments are certainly important, they don't belong in any jobs measure, let alone a jobs measure that would assist returning veterans. unfortunately, mr. president, i'm not surprised to see the grand old party blocking a jobs bill. after all, that's been their tactic all this congress. it's really been their tactic for four years. the republican leader, mitch mcconnell, said so himself. during the darkest days of this depression he said his number one goal was to defeat president obama. not to create jobs, but to defeat president obama. obviously it is still true today. i'm dismayed to see them blocking a jobs bill aimed at protecting those who protect this great nation.
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this is really a new low for the republicans. at a time when 175,000 post-9/11 veterans are out of work and many of them are homeless, we can't afford to waste time with election-year politics. less than three weeks before his death, president john kennedy wrote -- quote -- "as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them." it's time that the senate show its grad taoud -- gratitude to a new generation of veterans with deeds. so it is my hope that my republican colleagues will find it in themselves to put american veterans first and political aspirations second. mr. president, this bill could pass today -- today -- send it on to the house and have the president sign it within a matter of days. it's a shame if that doesn't
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happen. i've gone over the schedule with everyone within the sound of my voice. i hope we can move forward on this. mr. president, would you announce the schedule of the day? spoeup under the previous -- the presiding officer: under the previous under the previous ordered -- order the leadership time is reserved, the next hour will be controlled by the leaders or their designees with the majority controlling the first half. the clerk will call the roll. without objection. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington is recognized. ms. cantwell: i rise to talk about -- the presiding officer: the senate is currently in a quorum call. ms. cantwell: i ask the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. cantwell: i ask the indulgence of my colleague from west virginia. i appreciate his indulgence for me to make a recognition of a very important washingtonian. before i start, mr. president, i want to take a moment to say my thoughts and prayers are with the families and the victims of the horrific bombing that -- attack, i should say, that happened in libya and that it is now time to remember all of the men and women who serve our country abroad in these embassies and to thank them for their service and hope for their
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protection. mr. president, on a chilly day in january of 2009, americans watched with pride as barack obama stood before the nation and took the presidential oath of office. for some, that experience was another milestone in a long journey to ensure that america lives up to the ideas that this country was built for everyone. the election of an african-american president shattered a barrier that many thought would never happen. the american struggle for civil rights has produced many seminal moments. rosa parks and the montgomery bus boycott, martin luther king and the march on washington, jackie robinson stepping up to the plate for the first time. but before all of these events, there were the tuskegee airmen, and george hickman, a washington resident and a tuskegee airman
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was truly part of america's greatest generation. they were the catalyst for an eventual desegregation of the entire united states military, and on march 19, 1941, the 99th pursuit squadron was formed at tuskegee institute in alabama. when the united states was waging war against tyranny broad, the members of what became known as the tuskegee airmen fought it and fought around the globe for us. breaking barriers is never easy, and the time and competence and patriotism of these african-americans sometimes were openly questioned. but the tuskegee airmen didn't listen to those critics. they were fighting for what this country could be, not what it was, and in the first class of
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graduates, there was only five, but before the war ended, almost a thousand pilots went through combat training at tuskegee. of those 450 flew planes in the 99th squadron and the 332nd fighter group in missions across europe. and they used the steely resolve they had shown in the face of racism to their advantage. the 99th conducted bomber escort missions with stunning success. they flew 200 of 205 of these missions without the loss of a single bomber to the enemy aircraft. the 332nd group achieved just as much. the red tail fighters came to be feared in the skies because of the feats like the one of lieutenant pearson who pulled off when he took out a german destroyer in the harbor of triast, italy, with just a 50-caliber machine gun. equally important were the
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tuskegee pilots who broke barriers at home. they may not have participated in combat, but they proved that they were instrumental in powering american military that eventually won the war. amidst jeers and insults, the tuskegee airmen quietly went about their job with grace. through grit and determination, they barreled through full of deadends and blocked doors and shined light for others to follow. president obama acknowledged as much when he said -- quote -- "my career in public service was made possible by the path that these heroes like tuskegee airmen have blazed." these important tuskegee airmen were pioneers, and among them was george hickman from seattle.
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proud and smiling as always as you can see in this photograph. i rise today, mr. president, to honor the life of this american hero and loyal washingtonian. george hickman passed away on august 19 at the age of 88. we owe george hickman a great deal because beneath that big smile lay a quiet determination and courageous spirit that helped him make america a better place for all. george grew up in st. louis, missouri, and he loved building model planes, which he bought one for ten cents at woolworth's and it became his dream to become a pilot. at 18, he pursued that dream. when he graduated from high school in 1943, george trained with the army's all-african-american 9th pursuit squadron in tuskegee, alabama. he was a tuskegee airman and one
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of our nation's first african-american pilots. george's passion for aviation continued after his service was up and as a mechanic with the tuskegee airmen, he developed skills that allowed him to succeed in college and graduate from college. and eventually, george broad his expertise to boeing when he moved to seattle in 1955. and over 29 years of his career, he rose through the ranks of boeing. but that's not where this story ends. george was also an uplifting spirit, and he had the most radiant smile. you can see that from this picture. and that smile was there for his community, his family and everyone who met him. george became a well-known figure at seattle sporting events for the university of washington huskies and the seattle seahawks. in fact, people called him our
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lucky charm. for more than 40 years, he served as a press attendant and usher at sporting events. he never missed a game, including rose bowls. he was there to give moral support to everyone, even he went to the basketball and volleyball games and gave high fives to everybody on the court. as the udub basketball coach lorenzo romar put it, he is a guy that is selfless. he is always trying to lift everyone up. i always wondered, seeing this picture of george many times before today, what was it about the steely reserve of an airman that then becomes so grounded in what is really important in life, sharing and lifting other people up, but that's exactly what george did. and the university of washington lifted george up, too.
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they helped collect enough money so that he could travel back here and be part of president obama's inauguration with those 188 other tuskegee airmen. some spiments are that more than half of those tuskegee airmen that were there are no longer with us. with george's passing, certainly there is one more angel in heaven with a very big smile on their face, but here on earth we have one fewer american heroes from the tuskegee days to tell their story. so today i encourage all americans to learn about the story of the tuskegee airmen. for those of you in the pacific northwest, i encourage you to visit the museum of flight in seattle or the northwest african-american museum because they both have exhibits on display about this epic story. and it's a great opportunity to reflect on the people who inspired our nation and ended up
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changing the course of american history. george may no longer be with us, but he will always be remembered for that very big smile and for those that he touched through his life. his spirit will live on. it's almost as if he is saying in that picture, you can get it done, we can get it done. his legacy lives on in his children regina and sherry and vincent and shaunille and in his children and great grandchildren. we will all carry on this legacy with the united states military and the trail blazing tuskegee airmen. george's spirit will also carry on back home. at husky stadium and at heck edmonds pavilion. and many people, the seattle city council, the university and the seahawks have all honored
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him in their special ways. so, mr. president, on behalf of a grateful nation, it is my pleasure to introduce a resolution to honor the life of an american hero, a great washingtonian, george hickman. and his wife doris summed it up. george loved his family and enjoyed life to the fullest. he was a true american hero and an inspiration for all of us. i hope we pass this resolution. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. manchin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from west virginia is recognized. mr. manchin: first of all, i would like to thank my colleague and good friend from the state of washington, senator cantwell, for honoring and recognizing a true american hero. we had so many of them and we still have so many, and i want to thank her for that. mr. president, as the country mourns for those we have lost in
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libya and those who remain in harm's way to keep us all safe, we are reminded of the sacred debt that we owe the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day. no matter the generation and no matter the war, america's soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen are always tough, always determined and always victorious , even when we have asked the impossible of them, they have served us well. but how well have we served them, mr. president? how well have we kept our sacred promise to care for those who as abraham lincoln said have borne the battle? for us and for this great country of ours, the veterans' job corps act is an opportunity to make good on that promise, but it's more than an opportunity. it's an obligation. it's also a duty and most importantly it's a privilege. it is one of the best health care home celebrations we could give the men and women in our armed forces as well as the 9/11 generation of their families. more than a million military
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spouses and two million children, many of whom have lived their entire lives in a nation at war. today, one of our nation's great challenges is a new generation of veterans calling home -- coming home to a weak economy. those veterans are disciplined and have some of the best training in the world. but now those veterans who fought in iraq and afghanistan now fight for jobs. the unemployment rate for those post-9/11 veterans is 10.9%. according to the bureau of labor statistics in this past august. and that's well above the national average. mr. president, that's just unacceptable. that's why every day in the united states senate i'll stand with our veterans, as i know you do and all of our colleagues 24/7. that's why one of my top priorities in the senate has been and will continue to be to make sure there are good jobs for our returning veterans. i am particularly pleased that the veterans job corps act
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includes provisions to provide veterans with access to the internet and computers to assist them in their job searches. this is important because as we all know, the -- today's veterans are tech savvy. i talked about establishing an internet portal for job seekers and i will be working with the secretary to make sure this provision of the act is up and running as quickly as possible. i do, however, suggest that we amend the legislation so that it is abundantly clear that the employment opportunities available through the veterans job corps are maintained on one, only one internet portal. a simple one-stop center for job seekers. in this technology age, we need a central clearinghouse to match veterans with available jobs. mr. president, i also want to propose two more amendments to the veterans job corps act that might have been overlooked. first as written, the
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legislation addresses commercial drivers licenses, c.d.l.'s as we know them. but not construction equipment or heavy equipment operating license. i suggest we amend the legislation to include reciprocity on license shaours which -- lie licensures which will make it easier for veterans to get jobs at construction and mining sites. they have been doing these jobs already every day in the military. there is no reason why they should have to face a complete new hurdle to get a new license for the same work here at home. and second, i would like the legislation to encourage members of congress to lead by example and hire qualified veterans for openings in all of our offices both here and at home. i probably display the "i hire veterans" logo in my office, and many of our colleagues do,
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mr. president. i have made this a commitment to every veteran that we will do all we can to put them back into employment, but we must all lead by examples. as members of the veterans job caucus, we must do everything we can to end the unemployment crisis our veterans are facing. in fact, while i was in my great state of west virginia during our most recent state work period, i had the privilege of working with a private sector partner, dupont international, dupont, which has joined the "i hire veterans" project. they have committed for all their new hirees to be at least 10% of veterans. that is tremendous. this project is our new yellow veteran. i have always said if you want to really help a vet, hire a vet and then do business with folks who also hire vets. i've seen firsthand the positive impact veterans have on our economy: leadership, team work, commitment and trust, these are
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the hallmark qualities of all of our military heroes. and these are skills every american business, big or small, needs and can use today. like every generation of warriors, today's young veterans make great hires. their resumes include maturity, crisis management skills and loyalty. and those resumes should be at the top of every stack of a person looking for a good employee today. mr. president, patriotism requires many things, and one requirement is to keep faith with those who have worn the uniform of the united states of america. it is one thing to recall president lincoln's immortal words and the commitment to those who have borne the battle. it is another thing to live by them, to always stand with the men and women who have kept this nation safe and free. they answered the call, and we must do as well. and i am so proud to support
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this legislation. three million veterans have returned from military service over the past ten years and another one million are expected to return to civilian life over the next five years. can we rise to the challenge the way our warriors did in iraq and afghanistan? can we make sure that our economy is ready for them? of course we can. and just as importantly, we must. so, mr. president, i ask all of my colleagues, democrats and republicans, to please vote "yes yes" on this most important piece of legislation. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. mr. udall: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado is recognized. mr. udall: mr. president, let
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me commend my colleague from west virginia for his eloquent and articulate and powerful remarks about the importance of standing with our veterans. we have work to do. as abe lincoln so powerfully put it, i just want to acknowledge the great work of my colleague from west virginia. mr. president, i'm here as i have been for many a morning for the last number of months to urge all of us to work together in order to extend the production tax credit for wind energy. the p.t.c., as it's known, is going to expire in just a few months, and that impending expiration not only threatens the jobs of tens of thousands of americans but also threatens the continued prosperity of an industry that has seen tremendous growth over the last decade. and we simply cannot let that happen. but each day we fail to act and
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in effect abdicate our basic responsibility to support job creation, we are allowing jobs to be exported abroad and we are truly abandoning a part of bright future of american manufacturing. i've had the opportunity, mr. president, over the last several months, as i mentioned, to come to the floor and talk about the benefits of the production tax credit in individual states. and today -- and i'm here, and i think it's timely and appropriate to highlight the great state of arizona, a state that i have a special affinity for, as does the presiding officer. we were both born and raised in tucson, and we both, i know, share a sense of pride because arizona has adopted a renewable electricity standard like we have in colorado and like we have in the presiding officer's state of new mexico. and the important thing is not just the adoption of that
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standard but arizona's commitment to that has produced results. when you think about arizona you think about solar resources. the sun shines many a day in arizona. but it's also home to ample wind resources. the studies show arizona has enough wind potential to provide 40% of the state's current electricity needs. and that's according to national renewable energy laboratory. and arizona is not letting that wind go to waste. it completed its first commercial wind project in 2009 tanned's been steadily -- and it's been steadily adding capacity ever since. the first project was the dry lake wind project, which is a wind farm comprised of 30 turbines in navajo county, which is up in the northeastern section of the states, familiar to the presiding officer near his home state to new mexico. but arizona isn't stopping with this one project.
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there are at least seven wind manufacturers in arizona who are creating good-paying jobs. and i want to mention one: southwest wind power. it's a national leader in the small-wind market, and it has a manufacturing facility up in flagstaff in the center and the northern part of arizona. these online wind projects already power over 33,000 homes. and as i highlighted current projects under instruction are likely to drastically multiply that number. why is this important? we have clean renewable energy that creates american jobs. you talk about a sreurt -- virtous cycle, this is one. there is a large wind project proposed in arizona, the mohave county wind farm. it will produce 500 megawatts of
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hrebgt -- electricity. that would power 110,000 homes per year. importantly, that is an development of hundreds of millions of dollars -- that is an investment of hundreds of millions of dollars and it would create nearly 1,000 jobs. those are impressive numbers. why do i bring this proposed project up? i bring it up because this investment is at risk. the b.l.m. under secretary salazar's leadership has fast-tracked this project and it's scheduled to begin construction next year. but our inaction here will thwart those plans. without an extension of the production tax credit, the future of this project and the jobs and the clean energy that it will produce are in jeopardy. and that's just -- it's flat-out unacceptable. we have to act here in the congress in order for the immense potential of wind power
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to be realized. now, i want to talk today about something i have not mentioned previously, but in the, on the up side, when we produce power from wind in the arid west, we save an enormous amount of water. and recent estimates project that for every 1,000 megawatts of new wind power produced, we save over 818 million gallons of water on an annual basis. i don't have to tell you, the presiding officer we're in a period of extreme drought not only in the southwest but in the midwest. and when you add in the fact that arizona has a very arid climate, fresh water supplies become increasingly precious. so when we take steps to reduce the demand for that fresh water, we make a down payment on the future of the southwest. of course we know that well in
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colorado. we're the headwaters of some of the most significant and major rivers that feed the water needs of states all around us. but if we let the p.t.c. expire, we risk all the jobs, the manufacturing and the water savings that would have really positive effects on our economy. i see my good friend from arizona is here, and i want to conclude. but i want to conclude on this note. this really isn't a partisan issue. on both sides of the aisle we have strong support for the production of tax credit. just last week, i should say last month the finance committee included an extension of the production tax credit on a strong bipartisan vote. our good friend, senator grassley from iowa, has led the effort here in the congress, and we have support in both houses. so i want to make a plea to all
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of us that let's act in a bipartisan fashion. let's renew the production tax credit. the production tax credit simply equals jobs. we ought to pass it as soon as possible because the production tax credit equals jobs, and that's job one here for those of us in the senate. in the house yesterday a group of house members, over a dozen of them made this effort bicameral. they talked on the floor of the house about how the p.t.c. has benefited their districts. their remarks highlighted what i've been saying for months. without the p.t.c., thousands of good-paying american jobs will likely be lost or shipped overseas. mr. president, there's no reason that should happen. let's pass the production tax credit extension as soon as possible. mr. president, thank you for your interest. thank you for your support. and before i yield the floor, i
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have a unanimous consent request. mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent that seven requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate be approved. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders, and i'd ask unanimous consent formally that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. udall: mr. president, thank you, and i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota is recognized. mr. thune: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to enter into a colloquy with my colleagues from arizona, alabama and new hampshire. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: mr. president, we come to the floor today to talk about the sequestration and the looming fiscal cliff. unfortunately the white house missed an important deadline last week by failing to provide congress and the american people with the required report that details the administration's plans for implementing the $1.2 billion sequester scheduled to take effect on january 2 of next
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year, less than four months from now. that report on both defense and non-defense cuts came about because the administration ignored repeated requests to provide congress and the american people with details about the impact the sequestration is going to have on critical programs particularly with regard to our military and national defense. members of both parties agreed that it was necessary for the white house to produce this information. and so we were glad to see the sequestration transparency act bill passed, a bill which senator sessions, senator mccain, others of us were involved with. the law required the administration to produce by september 6, last week, a report on how they intended to implement scweervetion and yet so -- sequestration and yet so far we haven't seen that report. a week later, president obama so far has chosen to ignore a request -- or a requirement that he signed into law just over a month ago.
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all americans are required to play by the rules and follow the laws of the land. it seems to me at least the administration owes the american people and the congress under the law that was passed a report that would detail the proposal that they have with regard to sequestration that's going to occur on the first of next year. i think the reason that's important, mr. president -- it's important for a lot of reasons, but we don't have a lot of time here. if we are going to do something to avert, which would be what would be a catastrophe for our national security interests, we have to take the steps that are necessary to do that. well, it's very hard to come up with a replacement, an alternative to what the administration proposes when you don't know what the administration is proposing. and so we are hoping when we get this report -- which i hope will be soon since it is a week now overdue -- we get an idea about what the administration proposes to do and then congress can move forward hopefully with an alternative that would avert,
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which would be a major disaster as has been described by our military leadership in this country to america's national security interests. i know the senator from arizona, the senator from alabama and others will detail some of that, but i think it's important to point out what some of the president's own anniversary -- advisors have said. the secretary of defense leon panetta has issued warnings about the negative impact these cuts would have on our military, saying it would do catastrophic damage to our military and its ability to defend this country, unquote. the chief of staff of the army said that cuts of this magnitude would be catastrophic to the military. he went on to say that these cuts would incur an unacceptable level of strategic and operational risk. now, it's interesting, there is a book out now by "the washington post" reporter bob woodward who describes president obama and then-o.m.b. director jack lieu when they were going through this process on insisting on defense cuts when
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going through the debt ceiling negotiations. it's clear, mr. president, they wanted to use these defense cuts as leverage to get tax increases. in fact, if the fiscal cliff -- if we breach the fiscal cliff, if we go over the fiscal cliff, it's now being predicted by the congressional budget office that that will drive unemployment above 9% next year and plunge the country into yet another recession. in fact, they project, the c.b.o. does, that the g.d.p. will contract by 2.9% during the first half of next year and by 5% over the entire year. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke has also said the estimates, and i quote, do not incorporate the additional negative effects likely to result from public uncertainty about how these matters will be resolved, end quote. mr. president, we're heading toward a train wreck. we are heading toward a disaster for america's national security interests. it all started with the fact that this chamber has not produced a budget for now three years in a row. this is what you end up with
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when you don't have a budget. you don't have a blueprint about how you're going to spend 3.6 trillion of the american taxpayers' money. we ended up with a budget control act that was cobbled together at the last minute to avoid a crisis on the debt limit last summer which put in place a super committee designed to come up with these cuts. when the committee failed, this sequestration process was triggered. that was last november. we have had almost a whole year now for the administration to put forward their plan about how they would deal, how they would implement the sequestration -- these across the board cuts which disproportionately impact our national security spending. mr. president, it is a -- it's a disservice to the american people, it's a disservice to the congress for the administration not only to have not put something out prior to but now since we passed legislation that was signed into law just a month ago that required the president to put forward this report not to have received it yet so that
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we can have the time that's necessary to take the action that's necessary to avoid what would be a catastrophe and a disaster for america's national security interests. so, mr. president, i hope that we will receive that report. this fiscal cliff is real. it's not just the congressional budget office. a lot of the outside analysts have looked at this and come to the same conclusion. that is if something is not done to avert these cuts and to deal with the tax increases that will occur on the first of next year, that we will go over a fiscal cliff, and that could be incredibly dangerous and have catastrophic consequences for america's national security interests but also for our economy and for jobs. so, mr. president, i would like to yield to my colleague from arizona, senator mccain, one of the most respected voices on national security issues and someone who has been very active on this sequester issue and trying to get the defense department to at least let us know what they're intending to do with regard to the cuts that
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will impact the national security interests of this country, so i would yield to the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that i be included in the colloquy with the senator from south dakota and the senator from alabama. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: and naturally the senator from new hampshire as well. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: mr. president, i think that the senator from south dakota has laid out the problem here. one of the regrets that i think all of us have is the failure of this message to getting to the american people the loss of a million defense jobs, the trillion dollars taken out of our economy, the devastation to our national security that has been so graphically described by our secretary of defense and our uniformed chiefs, and still i think most americans don't even understand what the word sequestration, how it applies in
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this particular situation. now, maybe when this report, thanks to the legislation sponsored by the senator from south dakota comes out as to the effects it will give more visibility to the train wreck that we are facing, and it is a train wreck, and i'd like to remind my colleagues again, the president cut $78 billion from defense in 2011. the budget request this year cut an additional $487 billion over the next decade, and this is another approximately $480 billion in addition to that. that's why our uniformed service chiefs say that they are not able to carry out their missions if the sequestration takes place, and the president of the united states, whose title as commander in chief has said, as far as i know, one that he wants us to agree to tax increases or there has been some comments
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that he's made about, well, after the election, after the election maybe we'll sit down. that's not the job of the commander in chief of the armed forces whose number-one priority is this nation's security. the job of the united states is to prevent the catastrophic consequences of sequestration on our nation's national security. i stand ready and i know my colleagues do, i stand ready to go over to the white house and sit down with the president of the united states and say how can we avert this catastrophe for our nation's defense? and what's the answer? well, as soon as republicans agree to tax increases or after the election, maybe we can sit down. meanwhile, the pentagon has to plan, we have to plan on what their budget is, on what t capabilities are going be, what their acquisitions are going to be, how we're going to pay, make sure the pay and benefits of our men and women who are serving are kept.
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so i'll yield to my friend from alabama in just a second, but this is really an incredibly frustrating situation. we're not going to take up the defense authorization bill any time soon. we're going through a veterans job act that never had a hearing, sponsored by a person who is not a member of the veterans affairs committee. there is already six veterans' jobs programs already in being today, and so -- and then i read in the -- some of these periodicals, we're going to take up a bill from the senator from montana concerning some kind of hunting deal. meanwhile, meanwhile, the senate of the united states refuses to take up a national defense authorization act which has to do all with defending this nation. where it is the role of the president of the united states on this -- where is the role of the president of the united
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states on this issue? and are we -- i ask my colleagues, are we for the first time in 50 years, first time in 50 years not going to pass and send to the president's desk for signature a defense authorization bill? instead, we'll go back and forthwith filing cloture and amendments which will be allowed and not allowed, fill up the tree, blah, blah, blah, and yet the majority leader of the united states senate cannot take up the national defense authorization bill, the most important piece of legislation that this body considers, and it may be for the first time in 50 years. we must address the issue of sequestration. i again commit to making compromises, to doing things that i otherwise would not agree to, because we cannot allow this train wreck to endanger the
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lives of our citizens to take place. and don't take my word for it. take the word of the secretary of defense appointed by the president of the united states and our uniform chiefs appointed by the president of the united states with the advice and consent of the senate, that this is a devastating challenge to our national security, and i think we just found out in the last couple of days that the world we live in is a very dangerous one. i thank my colleagues for their involvement. i yield to the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: mr. president, i think we should listen to senator mccain, and senator mccain made a point that i think he understands. he has been ranking republican on the armed services committee. he's served his nation as a career in the military. and we have a commander in chief
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who is not leading. we have a majority leader in the united states senate who is not leading. and we're about to have no defense authorization bill this year, the first time in 50 years. i would also note this would be the first time since i have been in the senate -- maybe i don't know how long -- we have passed not a single appropriations bill, zero, including the defense appropriations bill. it's going to be part of some massive omnibus c.r. for six months, without any real oversight or thought as to how that money would be spent. i am a member of the armed services committee and ranking member of the budget committee. i'd just like to point out how these cuts that senator thune established were driven by the white house when they set up this committee last august, and we -- we committed to reducing
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spending by $2.1 trillion over ten years. instead of spending $47 trillion, they would reduce it to $45 trillion. we're spending now at the rate of $37 trillion over ten. we're still increasing spending over the current rate, but it wouldn't be quite as much. but the way this fell is remarkable. i want to show this chart. under the fallback sequester, the defense budget shrinks while nondefense spending soars. under the budget as proposed and as in law today, the defense department, unless we take action to fix this sequester, would have a reduction of 11% over the ten years in their program, while the remaining 5/6 of the federal government -- defense is only 1/6 -- would get
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a 35% increase. now, this is the kind of poor management that we ought to not allow to happen. the secretary of defense said it would be catastrophic. the chairman of the joint chiefs said it would be catastrophic. yet, that's where we are heading, and we need leadership now. it will take place in january. we need to fix it now because defense contractors and military budget people and department of defense is right now trying to wrestle with what to do about it. so this is not acceptable. so you say -- they might say the defense department has received dramatic increases, it ought to take more cuts. you've heard that said. it's really not so. let me show you some of the things about spending. from 2008-2011, these are the increases in spending by
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departments. food stamps has gone up 100%, double. medicaid has gone up 37% from 2008-2011. defense department has increased 10%. and basically this year, very little -- last year had very little increase. the perception that the defense department is the one that's driving the increases in spending is not accurate. and let me point out, under the budget control act agreement august a year ago, they totally exempted food stamps from any production. they totally exempted medicaid from any reduction. not a dime. and that's how -- why the cuts fall disproportionately on defense.
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of course social security has no reductions. so these are things we need to understand as we wrestle with how to manage the people's money. senator thune, thank you for your leadership and senator mccain. i just would say that this is not a good way to do business. i don't believe it will eventually become law. but right now it's causing disruption in the defense department and our procurement for the defense department. we need to do something about it sooner rather than later. it's very disappointing that the commander in chief, the chief executive doesn't see this problem and begin to provide leadership right now to fix it. i see my colleague from new hampshire, a fabulous new addition to both the budget committee and armed services committee. i'm just so pleased with her grasp of defense issues and her passion about it. senator ayotte. ms. ayotte: thank you.
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i would ask permission to enter into this colloquy with my colleagues. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. ayotte: thank you. it is an honor certainly to speak after the senator from alabama who is the ranking republican on the senate budget committee, and he knows better than anyone else here that as my colleague from south dakota said, if we do a budget for our country, then we don't find ourselves in a situation like this where we're going to put our national security at risk. and it's been over three years since this body has done a budget. i think it's outrageous. having been elected in 2010, i'm so angry about that that i've signed up to support that bill that says we shouldn't get paid without a budget. because where we end up is this sequestration deal which i will tell you i think the lesson from this is when you have an absence of leadership, and the majority leader thinks it's foolish to have a budget, when you have an absence of leadership from our
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commander in chief who is not prioritizing solving this. right now he should be here calling all of us to the table to solve this on behalf of our national security, where you end up is you put our country at risk. and the foremost responsibility that we have to the american people under our constitution is to keep them safe. if we don't have that, we don't have anything else. and we have seen with the events over the last few days, as senator mccain has said, the ranking member of the armed services committee and certainly someone known as more knowledgeable about -- and no one is more knowledgeable about national security than senator mccain, and till tell you this, he's right. it is a dangerous time in the world right now with what we're facing. and we have iran trying to acquire the capability of having a nuclear weapon. we have the middle east unraveling right now. and there's an absence of american leadership,
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unfortunately. and where this sequestration leads us is if we take in addition to the $487 million in reductions we're already doing to our department of defense, another $500 billion off that, with what we see happening around the world and also the risk to our country, terrorists who still want to kill us for who we are and what we believe in, then as our own secretary of defense has said, catastrophic, leading to a hollow force, shooting ourselves in the head is what our secretary of defense has said. irresponsible, inflicts severe -- mr. mccain: isn't it true, i'd ask the senator from new hampshire, that we went to your state and met before and with a major defense industry in the state of new hampshire, employs thousands of people?
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ms. ayotte: i would say, skphaeurpbgs i was at a may -- i would say, senator mccain, yes, i was at a major employer, b.a.e. -- mr. mccain: what do they say? ms. ayotte: they are really worried about sequestration because there are thousands of jobs at stake in new hampshire. but also more importantly, the capacity to make sure that our troops have the very best equipment, the very best technology and that we can prevent attacks on our country, and most importantly when we send our troops in to harm's way that they are protected. we have a responsibility to them. so there are jobs at stake. there is safety to our troops. when we talk about hollowing out our force, we mean putting our troops at risk. finally, not only that, we think about our safety but there's real jobs at stake. as the senator from arizona said, my state, the estimate is 3,600 jobs on the defense end,
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over a million jobs in this country. let's face it right now, i saw the workers, i've talked to them. they're really worried that we're not going to take up responsibility here, that there's aban sense of leadership. -- that there's an absence of leadership. where's the commander in chief on this. on all the things the president of the united states has the responsibility for this should not be punted until after the election. he should be at the table right now. we are all willing to sit down and listen and to listen to the ideas and to compromise on the other side. but we need the leadership of our president to do that. and i understand if he's too busy campaigning to do that, but this is too important to leave after an election. mr. mccain: could i ask the senator from alabama, isn't it true that if these cuts are enacted in the fashion that they are, that we're going to have a serious impact on our economy to
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the point where it could result in even negative growth, according to objective studies? mr. sessions: the congressional budget office and others, as senator thune indicated, have said that if the tax increases are imposed and the sequester cuts are done, we will, could go back into another recession. the last thing we need. to get this budget under control and our finances under control is another recession. it would be unthinkable for us to take action that would put us in that kind of context. and we have, as you know, senator mccain, requirements by the defense contractors and any government contractor when they know that they're not going to be able under the law to keep the number of people employed, they have to send them notice that they're going to be laid off, in advance so they can have an opportunity to find other work.
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and they're sending out those notices now, and that has a depressing effect on the economy, i think. so it is a very serious matter for the economy. but most important to me is when you start playing games with production and procurement of weapons systems and things, you cost the government more money. don't you, senator mccain? when you're producing 100 widgets and then you go to 50 widgets and back to 100, doesn't the tkpwofpbt have to pay -- doesn't the government often have to pay penalties and doesn't it drive up costs? mr. mccain: isn't it true that if you are a defense contractor today you literally don't have the ability to make plans for what your company, corporation would be expected to do on the first of january, 2013? mr. sessions: absolutely that's correct. under the law, these cuts will take place in january. that will happen unless we pass a law to change.
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unless we take action to change it. why are we going to wait until december 31? is that when we're going to deal with this, as senator ayotte was suggesting why we should do it now? the responsible thing is to fix this problem now and not leave the defense department in turmoil. they won't even send an answer to senator thune and i and mccain's request for where the cuts are going to occur because i guess they don't want to or they don't have -- they don't know yet. but this is turmoil within the department. mr. thune: if the senator from alabama would yield on that, i think it is really important again to point out that this could be avoided. and actually the house of representatives, because they passed a budget, tried to avoid it. they addressed this in their budget. they redistributed these reductions. they did away with the 50% whack that the defense department
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would get which is disproportionate relative to a share of the budget. the defense represents 20% but gets 50% of the cuts. but the house of representatives, and the democrats have been down here attacking for the last couple of days the -- quote -- "ryan budget, the house-passed budget. at least they had a budget. we haven't had a budget for three years in the united states senate. mr. mccain: isn't that known as chutspa to come down and attack the other body's budget when you haven't had one? i congratulate my friends on the other side of the aisle who come down and attack the other side's budget when they haven't done one iota in three years. congratulations for new levels of hypocrisy. ms. ayotte: would the senator
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from arizona yield? i would also call that hypocrisy. i mean, really, when you have no plan yourself for the fiscal state of the country, when you're unwilling to actually do the work of the budget committee, when you call it foolish, when by the way when the president's own budget gets zero votes from the members of his own party -- mr. mccain: the president did have a budget. it got see row votes. not a single -- it got zero votes. not a single member on the other side of the aisle would support the president's budget but to attack a program which puts us on a path to a balanced budget which is certainly no proposal i have seen from the other side. in fact, the answer, according to them, is spend more money. let's have more jobs. i mean, more of everything and then obviously that has not beea very successful approach over the last three and a half years.
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again, i don't mean to be too repetitive. but here we are. what are we debating? a jobs bill. sounds great. sounds great. the veterans jobs bill. what could be better? what could be more important? well, we got six jobs, veterans jobs programs. they haven't succeeded. the fact is we are not addressing the needs of the men and women in the military. and who will be veterans someday? we're not providing them with the equipment, training and the wherewithal to defend this nation by ignoring sequestration and not taking up a national defense authorization act. my friends, i think the american people see through this charade that we are conducting in these last few days before we go out to campaign and try to see if there's any americans who are in that that we could meet any americans who are in that 11% who say they still approve of
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congress. mr. sessions: senator main, we're going to have -- senator mccain we're going to have a lot more unemployed veterans if we don't fix the sequester because it's going to cause the defense department to reduce personnel in a significant number, wouldn't you agree? senator thune, you mentioned the ryan budget, an historic budget, changes the debt course of america, puts us on a path of prosperity and not decline. it's an honest budget. does it fix this sequester? doesn't his budget do that isn't that proof that if we put our heads together, we can develop a way to deal with the sequester tanned's -- and it's not impossible to do? mr. thune: we talk about the job impact and all the uncertainty created by not knowing what the impact of this is going to be. the house of representatives months ago passed a budget which spelled out in clear detail how
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they would avoid these draconian cuts to the national security budget, replace them with alternatives by finding reductions in spending and other areas of the budget and put a budget out they actually accomplished that objective and avoided what we all know is going to be a disaster and a train wreck at the end of the kwraoefrplt what -- year. what happens? the united states senate, world's greatest deliberative body doesn't pass a budget for the fourth year in a row. with defense contractors sending pink slips out to employees in the very near future, and the united states senate has done nothing to avoid what we know is a very, very predictable crisis. everybody knows this is coming. the congressional budget office is predicting it. the federal reserve is predicting it. outside analysts are predicting it. everyone knows the combination
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of tax increases and dramatic cuts of the defense department are going to take the country into a place economically that we don't want to go. in most cases, according to c.b.o., they are predicting 2.9% contraction in the economy in the first six months of next year and unemployment over 9%. it's not like we don't see this coming. yet, here we are, as senator mccain upon pointed out, we're talking about small-ball stuff. we're doing that i think is in somebody else's opinion is important. but we're looking disaster right in the eye and we're not doing anything to address it. it all starts with the failure by this institution, the united states senate, the world's greatest deliberative body not even to pass a body. the ranking member on the budget committee, the senator from alabama knows full well that the senator from new hampshire is also a member of that committee, i'm not sure why our committee exists if we're not going to pass a budget but we haven't done it now under the democratic leadership in the institute for
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three consecutive years. mr. sessions: mr. president, i do believe that we are at a point in history that this congress has a responsibility, sequester cannot be carried out in the way it's written today. it will do severe damage to the defense department. we are going to fix it at some point. it only makes good sense and good business for us to fix it now to avoid the disruptions that are ongoing in our department of defense. now, i say we will fix it. i know there are a number of friends of the president who have long desired severe cuts in the defense department. he said he doesn't, but he is at this point taking action that i can only conclude indicates that he favors these reductions to occur. and the only way he might not do
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it is if we have a tax increase that heed like to see occur. mr. thune: would the senator from alabama yield? it looks like what they are doing is running out the clock, doesn't it? they have a requirement by september 6, by last week, to produce at least their proposal. it was by law. we passed it. he signed it into law back in august. it was required last week. we haven't seen it yet. it looks to me like what they're doing is trying to run the clock out, hoping congress is going to go home to campaign. they will not have had to do anything to do with this until the lame-duck, at which point they can use defense cuts as leverage to try and get tax increases. it's pretty plain what's going on here, but they have a requirement under the law to produce that. they haven't done it. you and i were authors of that legislation. the senator from hall of fame has been a great leader in trying to get the administration to put their proposal for implementation in front of us. that hasn't happened. that's i think the only
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conclusion that anybody can draw. mr. sessions: the senator from new hampshire has campaigned on this, i know, and talked about these issues. i guess it has been frustrating to serve on the budget committee and the armed services committee, for you to see as much dysfunction as is occurring. ms. ayotte: we have to get -- we have to do a budget, i would say to the senator from alabama and the senator from south dakota, for our country, and we need to make sure that we protect our national security, and that's why this problem has to be solved now. we need leadership from the president as commander in chief. and i would point out in response to the comments from the senator from south dakota that not only as the department of defense has ignored this law of producing a plan of how they will implement sequestration, the administration went so far as to have the department of labor issue an order saying employers don't comply with the law in the warren act to tell employees that your job may be at risk, to issue a layoff notice. that's how far the administration is going in not wanting to take this issue head
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on. but it's too important to the american people. we've got to resolve it. we are willing to try to resolve it. i'm the cosponsor also of another bill that would come up with an alternative spending reduction to resolve it. we have got to do it now. we owe this to the american people. we owe this to our men and women in uniform. again, if we do a budget, we do what's right for our country, we would never find ourselves in this situation. i see the republican leader here, and certainly that we would like to hear from the republican leader and would end this colloquy and defer our time to the leader. mr. thune: madam president, we yield back the balance of our time -- or mr. president, i'm sorry. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: the attacks this week on our diplomats, our
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installations and diplomatic security personnel have reminded all of us of the service of these brave americans, the service that they render to our country every single day. from the deadly attacks on a u.s. diplomatic station in benghazi to the attack on our embassy in cairo and now another attack on another embassy last night in yemen, four americans are dead. our flag is being desecrated. this is a moment for americans to show our closest allies in the middle east that we stand with them unequivocally, unequivocally, no mixed signals. neither signal nor any of our allies should ever have any reason to doubt that resolve.
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now, i'm encouraged that turkey has condemned the violence in benghazi. there is absolutely no justification for what happened in cairo, benghazi or gemmen, none. we must do everything within our power to protect our representatives overseas and hunt down those responsible for these attacks. there were warnings yesterday that other attacks on other embassies may be imminent. this is a gravely serious moment. but america does not shrink from the defense of its core values or its interests overseas. we must project strength. the unrest in the middle east, in libya, egypt, and especially the sinai, israel and syria,
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present a formidable challenge to our interests. in addition to the u.s. central command and to our allies. none of our nation's enemies, al qaeda, other violent extremists, hezbollah and especially iran should view this moment as a window of american vulnerability. now is the moment to send a clear signal to long-standing allies like israel that they can rely on our support. and every member of our armed services, diplomatic corps and intelligence community should know that they have our support and gratitude in the challenging days that lie ahead. mr. president, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
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senator from west virginia. mr. rockefeller: i thank the distinguished presiding officer from the great state of pennsylvania. mr. president, i rise today to talk about the so-called ryan budget plan endorsed and fully absorbed by governor romney, which when you read it is nothing more than a diabolical blueprint for slashing services that help families, seniors and children all across the country. the ryan-romney plan, which is the centerpiece of the republican presidential campaign and certainly will grow more so, has finally come under the new scrutiny that it needed as people got a good look at it leading up to the g.o.p. convention last month. i, for one, have been ashamed of this document for much longer. i was proud the senate voted against it, although it was
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equally discouraging that a majority of the house voted for it. i'm here today because i want to set the record straight on what the ryan-romney plan, in my judgment, would do to people in my home state of west virginia to your home state, mr. president, and to the country. the ryan budget proposal tackles the deficit by shredding something called the safety net, and if people aren't clear what that is, it's the net of public policy underneath the worst possible situation that somebody can come to in terms of health care or inability to live. families have counted on that safety net for years in rough times because they have had that safety net, and they have used that safety net. in essence, the unbalanced ryan
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proposal guts programs for seniors, people who are disabled, children, families struggling to make ends meet and then fascinating, turning those cuts into a $4 trillion worth of tax breaks for the very wealthiest americans and large corporations. and that said a lot and people say class welfare, but it's math, it's math mattics. -- it's mathematics. they give the average millionaire a tidy little tax cut of $265,000 under the ryan-romney plan while desperately undermining our economy. he says he hopes that his plan will balance the budget by 2040. that's not very encouraging, and it probably is optimistic on his part if it were ever to take place. the ryan plan does not contribute a single penny to
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deficit reduction, which is the great problem that we're facing and which we're going to deal with. not a single penny. consider how they shred health care. with $2.9 trillion in health care cuts, not just from repealing health care reform. an amazing thing to do, but also by gutting medicare and medicaid. in the passing of the health care act, all of a sudden 30 million americans by no means all those who are uninsured get health insurance coverage. the act makes sure that they get health insurance coverage. the ryan budget backed by romney would take that possibility away from 30 million people who have lived without health insurance for many years.
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the ryan-romney plan would take medicare that more than 50 million seniors rely on and turn it into a privatized voucher system. i know this has been said and it's been said because it's true. they would cap how much the government spends on seniors' health care, regardless of their health care needs. letting profit-seeking private health insurance companies decide what to cover and what not to cover. well, that alone costs seniors an additional -- every individual senior an additional $6,000 per year if that plan were to come into effect. if seniors are not able to pay the difference, then they are simply out of luck under the ryan-romney budget plan. this plan also rips apart the medicaid program by turning it into a block grant program. on this one, i get pretty
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indignant. right now, medicaid is a lifeline to 70 million americans, including families and children living in or near poverty. medicaid today provides long-term care for more than half of seniors in the united states of america. they can spend down, get rid of their assets so they qualify for medicaid so they can get long-term care, and there isn't anybody in this country, in this building, in this country who isn't going to be faced with long-term care. the difference is that some can pay for it, some will have families absorb it through love and cultural tradition, but most can't. they have to have help.
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the only place -- there is a little bit that's in medicare, but it's virtually all medicaid that provides long-term care. that's when you are in your declining years. that's when you are approaching death. that's when you are in your most dangerous and vulnerable situation. that's when you are scared. that's when your children come from other states to try to help, but then they start spending down their money that they have saved for their kids to go to college. it's a desperate situation, even as it is today with full medicaid coverage. the fact is -- and what would happen is that there would be -- this would affect those who need care at home, home health, and it would also affect seniors and nursing homes in terrible ways. the fact is that middle-class families in this country cannot afford the $80,000 or more per
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year that it costs to keep a loved one in a nursing home in something called long-term care. now, the only way to do it without bankrupting the entire family is with the help of medicaid. yes, it's a big program. yes, we're going to have to face reality in some respects on its size. but scaling back medicaid the way they do it in the ryan-romney plan so badly hurts american families and it forces state governments to do things which they are not going to be able to afford to do. because they're going to have to cut services or they're going to have to go more deeply into debt themselves. so the real prospect of people in their 70's, 80's, 90's, etc., with no long-term care because of a -- you know, a
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theological point of view that government is awful, what this is awful to is people. it's just terrible for people. the ryan-romney plan would mean millions more americans could not afford basic health care and we know what happens next. more people get sick with untreated illnesses and then health care costs go up for everyone. that implies that people get health care. yeah, they do. because they can go to the emergency room of a hospital, not always get services, but for the most part get those services, but they're not paying for that. the average american is, which adds about $2,000 to their family budget every year, paying for other people's health care because the uninsured don't
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have insurance and therefore they have no place to go. and so the idea of repealing the health care act and taking 30 million americans -- i mean it really, if we'd had more money we would have done the 45 or 5040 are -- 40 who are really uninsured and underinsured and taken care of them but we didn't have the money to do that. the nursing homes and the 1.8 million people who work there would be forced to slash their services, slash or close their doors or certainly turn away seniors. in their frenzy to repeal health care reform and with not a single proposal to replace it, the great silence, ryan-romney would also completely undo all
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of the new consumer protections to fight back against cruel health insurance practices. i chair the commerce committee and that's about all we dealt with for the past two years, health insurance companies and their practices. and it's pretty depressing. for example, the new provision ending discrimination by health insurance companies against people with preexisting conditions. that's law. well, under ryan-romney, that would end. and i reiterate that people -- women who are pregnant, millions of americans who have diabetes, people with asthma, people with acne have frequently been just turned down by health insurance companies when they ruled the roost. now they don't rule the roost under the new health care bill
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and a lot of money is being rebated to american people who were overcharged. the reform that we passed allows parents to keep their children on their insurance plan until the kids are 26 years old. mr. president, that's one of the most popular things in the country. that would disappear under the ryan-romney budget plan. and understand that there's a lot of lack of understanding of the health care bill and it's not wildly popular in some parts of the country and where you and i come from, mr. president, that's true. but, on the other hand, when you think of it as a bill, people don't know what's in it. when you explain to people what's in it and you give them examples like this up until the age of 26, you can stay on your family's health insurance plan,
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curtailing the restrictions, lifetime limits, the annual limits first and then lifetime limits in 2040, they're -- 2014, they're lifted so that people get the health care that they need. pretty much every night on television you see stories of kids born with some terrible set of health problems, and i remember one that i talked with, an 8-year-old boy and his family who had cancer, and he had run into his annual lifetime limit. well, he died. this was two years ago. he died. he wouldn't have died under the health care act. but the romney-ryan people want to scrap all that. one thing that's very well known
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is the prescription drug doughnut hole, which our reform bill actually had closed. it's a very big deal, very hard to understand how that comes about, what is a doughnut hole. but seniors understand it because they spend quite a lot of time paying premiums to health insurance companies but getting no benefits or health care coverage during that period in which they're in the doughnut hole. we stopped that in the health care bill. that would be repealed, they'd open that doughnut hole right back up, the ryan-romney budget plan, putting that $4,200 per year right back on the shoulders of our individual seniors. all across the country. you see a pattern here. it's absolutely appalling, it's
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appalling. they don't talk about it but even social security is threatened by their plans. social security is a contract that the american people have made with themselves. virtually everyone pays in through -- throughout their working years so everyone has a safety net when they retire or they become disabled or they die young and have others in their family to care for, and leaving a surviving spouse and children to struggle without help. under our bill, of course, nothing is changed. they want to change that. paul ryan for whatever reason has been trying since 2004 to privatize social security. and he just flat-out has. he can say what he wants, he
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can say he doesn't think that anymore, actually he doesn't say that, but that's what he believes because if you've been doing something for the last ten years, you probably believe in it pretty strongly. meaning he would like to see the american people bet their retirement savings on the stock market which is usually not stable. well, i don't buy that, west virginians don't buy that. just think back to 2008 when the financial crisis hit. if every american had privatized social security accounts then, their retirement security would have been wiped out. instead, while many people lost a whole lot of money in that stock market crash back then, their social security benefits were safe, and they knew it.
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people are fragile, mr. president,. not everybody is a venture capitalist or entrepreneur. not everybody is born wealthy. people are living at the edge, psychologically they're living even more closely to the edge. fear comes to them easily. so when you do something good like pass a health care bill which is going to help them, and then people come in and say, well, we're going to repeal the whole act, and everything about it, and then yes, something about social security, too, it's cruel. it's appalling, and it's cruel. weaned to protect -- we need to protect and strengthen social security, not destroy it. and don't just take that from me. there's a far-ranging opposition to the ryan-romney budget plan
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from economists to religious leaders. a group of catholic bishops -- this interested me greatly because the candidate for vice president on the republican ticket says he got his sort of social values from this catholic teaching. well, there's a group of catholic bishops recently asked republicans to stop championing ryan's drastic proposal because they were appalled by it. catholics are very strong on that, on fairness for people and always have been. because it's so hurtful to the poor. it fails their morality test. and my colleague, senator kent conrad, shared this week an amazing quote i cannot stop myself from giving to you because it was from one of ronald reagan's economic advisors, a fellow named bruce
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bartlett which bears repeating. he said the following, and this is in quotes until i stop using the quotes. he says "distributionally the ryan plan is a monstrosity. the rich would receive huge tax cuts while the social safety net would be shredded to pay for those tax cuts. even as an opening bid to begin budget negotiations with the democrats, the ryan plan cannot be taken seriously. it is less of a wish list than a fairy tale. utterly disconnected from the real world, backed up by make-believe numbers and unreasonable assumptions. ryan's plan isn't even an act of courage, bruce bartlett says. it's simply pandering to the tea party, where i think mr. ryan
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is of the tea party, so i don't know of his need to pander to it but anyway that's what this reagan person indicated. a real act of courage would have been for him to admit as all serious budget analysts know that revenues will have to rise well above 19% of g.d.p. to stabilize the debt. close quote. in the coming weeks and months, we will continue to hear a lot of back and forth about the heartless policy proposals coming from paul ryan and members of congress who support his plan. mr. president, this is a deadly serious debate, deadly serious, with enormous consequences for our country and for every person in it. it is my sincere and urgent hope that as more americans come to understand exactly where the ryan-romney plan would take our nation in its life saving programs and others, and that
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they will decide to run in the opposite direction, away from it. the republican budget is a slap in the face to millions of americans. we can and will reduce our deficit. we're going to do that because we have to. there is a strong and enduring consensus on that point. but we do not have to do it this way, and we must not do it this way. i thank the chair and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. mr. hoeven: thank you, mr. president. i rise to speak on the veterans job bill, the legislation before us. we voted on it last night, will likely be voting on it again today and possibly tomorrow.
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so i rise to speak on that bill. i've in fact offered an amendment to the bill because we should do all we can to support our veterans. it's very important. they put their very lives on the line for us and we need to do all we can to support them but we need to do it the right way. and that's why i'm offering this amendment. we're talking about creating jobs for our veterans. so the right way to do that is long-term jobs, quality employment, not short-term stimulus-type jobs. that's exactly why i'm offering this amendment to the legislation that would include approval of the keystone xl pipeline project. the v.f.w., the veterans of foreign wars, is an organization that does a tremendous amount for our veterans. we all know the v.f.w., we know the great work they do on behalf of our veterans.
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the v.f.w. is already working to help returning vets get jobs. and that's great. and they're working to help our returning veterans get jobs constructing the keystone xl pipeline. the only problem is, those jobs are in canada. those jobs are in canada because we haven't approved the keystone x.l. pipeline in the united states after four-plus years, it's still in the permitting process. so since the administration haven't approved the project we need to step up and approve the project and we can do that. this amendment would do that. let me tell you a little bit about what the v.f.w. is doing to help veterans get jobs in the energy industry doing things like building the keystone x.l. pipeline as i say, right now in canada. the v.f.w. through vet jobs --
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vet jobs is a job placement company of which the v.f.w. owns 10%. so it's partially owned by the v.f.w. they're working with the edmund ton economic development corps to hire canadians in edmonton in alberta. that's where the pipeline is being constructed up in canada. so they're working right now to hire vets to work on things including the construction of the keystone x.l. pipeline. several days ago, i spoke with ted dayw last. he's the c.e.o. of vet jobs. he told me in alberta that they have listings in 17 different categories and they could use between 12,000 and 15,000 people in alberta, canada, just working in the energy industry. why not put those veterans to work right here at home, right? i mean, we all want to have a
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good-quality job but we'd like to have it near our home, right? not having to go to a different country to get that work. the paramond group estimates that the keystone x.l. pipeline will create 15,000 to 20,000 direct construction jobs right away. direct construction jobs right away. and that it will create thousands and thousands of permanent jobs in addition to those construction jobs. and that's without spending any tax dollars, that's without adding to the deficit, that's without adding to the debt. and that's jobs here at home, not in canada. also, trans-canada, the company that's building the keystone x.l. pipeline, gives a hiring preference to veterans. they give a hiring preference to veterans in canada. they give a hiring preference to veterans in the united states. and, in fact, they also support and sponsor a program, it's actually delivered by a nonprofit entity.
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it's called helmets to hardhats. helmets to hardhats. what they do is they train returning veterans. they train returning veterans so they can do these kind of jobs. so we can make these quality jobs, long-term jobs, permanent jobs available right away right here in the united states by supporting this amendment. you know, in addition, we get more safe, dependable, reliable energy. anyone check gas prices recently? they're more than $3.80 a gallon average in this country. that's more than double, more than double what they were when this administration started in office. and there's another benefit as well. we reduce our dependence on oil from the middle east. now, compare that, compare this amendment -- compare this amendmenthislegislation to the b corps proposal that we're looking at in the bill that's
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under consideration right now here on the senate floor. so the veterans job corps proposal spends a billion dollars. okay? so here we are at this time $16 trillion in debt -- and that's growing -- so here we have legislation that spends a billion dollars to create government jobs for our veterans. well, let's take a look at those jobs. it's a billion dollars. want to create 20,000 jobs with that billion dollars. that means $50,000 a job, right? okay. for one year. for one year. then what do you do? so now we've created a -- we spent a bil billion dollars. we've created a burchl of temporary jobs. -- bunch of temporary jobs. twhean does our veteran do? do we end up spending more to keep it going? where does this go? instead of doing that, by approving this legislation that i've offered, we can create thousands more jobs and we won't
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spend anything and it creates tax revenues, it creates economic activity, it helps reduce the debt and the deficit, it helps us generate more energy for this country instead of more government spending and a bigger deficit and temporary jobs. now, i think our veterans would very much appreciate knowing that they're working on producing and transporting more energy for this country, that they're helping reduce gas prices at the pump for our hardworking taxpayers and our consumers. i think they would also appreciate the fact that we're working to reduce our dependence on oil from the middle east. you know, maybe then we wouldn't have to send them back to the middle east for energy or security reasons. i think our veterans would very much appreciate it. so the proposal we're putting forward creates jobs, per permat jobs, and it creates them the right way. and i encourage support for it
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because it is about supporting creating jobs in this country the right way and supporting jobs for our veterans. this amendment is about jobs and it will help our veterans.it's abou.--it's about energy and itl help hardworking americans with gas prices at the pump. it's about economic growth, which will help our economy. economic growth and better control of spending is what we need to do to address the deficit and the debt. this legislation's about energy security to make our nation more energy secure. so here's my concluding questions. why wouldn't we vote on this amendment? why wouldn't we have a vote on this amendment. and then why wouldn't we approve it for the benefit of our economy, for the benefit of the american people and our country, and for the benefit of our veterans? thank you, mr. president.
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i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: i ask unanimous consent the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. well, mr. president, it's nice to see paul ryan back here in congress. it will be even nicer to see him back here as a full-time member in january. now, there have been a lot of controversy about mr. ryan and some of the things he says and what he states, why he states them and the contrast with what he says and what he has done. but perhaps the least credible claim of all about congressman ryan is the idea that he's a serious deficit hawk and that his budget is a serious attempt at deficit reduction. he's not and it's not. the paul ryan budget is about ideology rather than commonsense solutions to the country's economic and fiscal problems. and, as more and more people are
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learning, it certainly isn't about, as bill clinton said, arithmetic. in ryan's budget, any savings achieved by his plan to privatize medicare and gut investments in the middle class do not go to reducing the deficit. he's saying he's creating that pain because we need the pain for deficit reduction. but he uses all those savings to pay for further tax cuts to the wealthy. this chart explains it pretty well. independent studies have found that the ryan budget would raise taxes on the middle class by about $ 2,600 -- up to $2,600, people between $50,000 and $100,000 pay $1,300 more a year. people between $100,000 and $200,000 pay $2,00 more a year. and then there are whopping savings for people whose income is over a million dollars, $28
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$285,000. as a result of the massive giveaways to the wealthiest americans, the congressional budget office found that the ryan budget failed to balance the budget until 2040. but these this conclusion relies on rosy assumptions supplied by ryan himself. ryan's plan could even take a longer to balance even under more realistic assumptions. even taking the unrealistically rosy assumption as that ryan stipulates in his budget -- for instance, that revenue levels would be 1% o 19% of g.d.p. -- s almost certainly not true -- his plan wouldn't balance the budget until 2040. independent experts like the nonpartisan tax policy center have challenged these assumptions. under more realistic assumptions, ryan's plan could take far longer to balance the budget and cause the federal debt to rise even further. moreover, ryan's spending cuts are unreaic